Look at nearly any Yoga studio schedule and you will likely be bombarded + perplexed by the variety of classes they offer: Vinyasa, Power, Gentle, Restorative, Kripalu, Forrest, Svaroopa, Iyengar, Ashtanga … and oh yes, there are still more! If you thought Yoga was just stretching with a chance to lie down at the end, you’ll probably be even less likely to try it after trying to decipher such a schedule.
I’m often asked by my students to describe the difference between class types + specific Yoga styles, giving them guidance on which would be right for them. Frankly, sometimes, I get tongue-tied + I even get different styles mixed up.
Now, when my students ask, I can simply recommend Meagan McCrary‘s new book, Pick Your Yoga Practice: Exploring and Understanding Different Styles of Yoga!
Trying to navigate the complex + centuries-old traditions of Yoga can be mind boggling. Most of us come to Yoga for the physical practice, but if you attend classes regularly, you know that this is only a small part of the overarching concept of Yoga. That being said, what type of Yoga class you take may determine how soon + how deeply your are introduced to these other concepts. Also, the physical practice of asana can vary greatly between Yoga styles + different class levels.
I have to give 2 big thumbs up to Meagan for writing such a wonderfully detailed, yet not overwhelming, and very well-researched book about the continuously expanding sea of Yoga styles. Even though I’ve been practicing Yoga for 14 years + teaching for 2 years, she definitely taught me some new things about each Yoga style listed. In particular, she also made me very interested in going to style-specific studios + really experiencing what each style offers + how it feels in my own body + mind. (Another awesome thing about Yoga: nowhere is it stated/written/instructed that you should believe blindly – everything taught is meant to be tested!)
Also intriguing: while reading through Pick Your Yoga Practice, I couldn’t help but notice that my personal teaching style is influenced by at least 4-6 different specific Yoga types – some of which I’ve never studied directly! Yet another expression of just how inter-related each of the Yoga styles really are.
While reading through Meagan’s book, I also noticed an overarching theme between nearly all of the Yoga styles. As previously mentioned, Yoga is much much more than just physical poses done on a mat, though that is how most of us are introduced to Yoga because our bodies are tangible + that is the easiest way for us to begin to experience the transformation that Yoga offers. The movements + physical practices of Yoga (such as pranayama, kirtan, mudras, bandhas … etc.) are a means of beginning the journey inward, deeper into our body, mind, + ultimately teaching our true Self. That’s what Yoga is really about, and depending on which Yoga style you delve into, you will experience that journey differently, but always with the same singular goal.
I happily recommend Pick Your Yoga Practice: Exploring and Understanding Different Styles of Yoga to anyone curious about Yoga + anyone who already practices Yoga – heck, even anyone who already teaches Yoga. If I can find things in this book that are new to me, I’m sure you can to.
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Is there a style of Yoga that you’ve always wanted to try?
Have you tried a specific style of Yoga that you enjoyed far more than you expected?
Share your thoughts in the comments below
Note: A copy of this book was provided to me for free by the book’s publishing company. All opinions are 100% my own + my review was in no way influenced by their generosity.